When Can a Flight Attendant Return to Work After Eyelid Surgery?

How long should a flight attendant wait to return to work after eyelid surgery?

Doctor Answers (9)

Returning to Work After Blepharoplasty

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One should wait at least 4 weeks before flying because of the high altitude to maximize wound healing and minimize eye symptoms after blepharoplasty.


Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Wait 2 weeks after blepharoplasty to resume air travel

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A flight attendant should wait at least two weeks after a blepharoplasty before returning to work.  The obvious bruising and swelling from blepharoplasty can be present for the first two weeks, and the air pressure difference will also affect the healing process.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

One week is the average time it takes to get better from eyelid surgery

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Healing is personal and individualized after an eyelift / blepharoplasty (eye plastic surgery / eye cosmetic surgery / eye lift). Everybody heals differently. Someone can heal to a certain stage at one week while someone may take a month to get to that same point.

Bruising typically resolves by one week and same with the swelling but everyone again is different. In terms of bruising, additional bleeding the first week is the most important. You should be really careful of not doing anything strenous for the first week, but if you want to be aggressive to getting back to work, the first two days are the most important for the bleeding and oozing.

One thing to realize is that your wounds heal 60% at 6 weeks, 80% at 6 months, and 88% approximately at 2 years. This is another way at looking at things. Based on this, the decision to return to work is really up to you. I have had patients take a flight 2 days after a facelift.

Everybody is different is the rule!

I hope that helps.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

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Upper or lower lids? You can return to work faster after upper blepharoplasty.

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The upper eyelid generally heals quickly after surgery, you could probably go back to work in 7-10 days. Even if you have a little bruising, it can be covered with makeup.

The lower lid is another story. Because of the risk of bleeding, I would suggest waiting longer after surgery to go back to work, at least 2, maybe 3 weeks.

When to return to work is a common question patients have when considering surgery. You should discuss this issue with your surgeon at your preoperative consult and follow their advice.

Theda C. Kontis, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Flight Attendants and Eyelid Surgery

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When can flight attendants get back in air after eyelid surgery.

Upper Eyes: One Week

Lower Eyes: Three Weeks

The difference between upper and lower is the risk of bleeding. The upper eylid surgery usually involves skin only and bleeding after first week is unlikely. Even if it happens, it is not serious.

The lower eyelid surgery involves fat excision and bleeding into that fat while you are in air can cause blindness.

Please read my instructions below for more details.

2345 Lamington Rd, Ste 108
Bedminster, NJ 07921
Tel: (908) 470-2600 Fax: (908) 470-1660 www.janjuafacialsurgery.com

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PATIENTS UNDERGOING BLEPHAROPLASTY

BEFORE SURGERY:

• Please read the general surgical instruction sheet given to you.
• You will be given a prescription for Tobradex eye drops and Bacitracin eye ointment.
• If you have any problems or concerns about your eyes or vision please let me know. I am especially interested in any symptoms of dry eyes, excessive tearing, double vision, thyroid disease, diabetes, glaucoma, injury to the eyes or any past surgery on the eyes.
• Please take a closer look at your eyes in the mirror. Most people have some asymmetry in the position of the eyebrows and at times the eyelids. These can be corrected to some extent but will not be identical in position and shape after surgery. Also the eyelid skin can be lighter closer to the lash line but darker in the area away from the lashes. If you have this it will not change after surgery.
• Blepharoplasty is a rewarding procedure and improves the aesthetic appearance of the whole face. In particular it makes a person appear younger. However, it carries risks including bleeding, infection, changes in vision such as double vision, blindness, dry eyes, droopy eyelid, insufficient skin removal or excess removal leading to incomplete eye closure, hollow appearance of the eyes because of excessive fat removal, prolonged swelling of the eyes or asymmetry of the eyes. The most devastating complication is loss of vision. The chance of this complication happening is approximately 0.04%. It usually happens because of bleeding in the eye after surgery. In most cases if the problem is identified early enough, treatment can reverse the loss of vision. The best way to prevent this complication is to avoid any Alcohol, Aspirin, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Advil, Excedrin, Vitamin-E, Multiviatmins (they contain Vitamin-E), Gingko Beloba, fish oil or other herbs, Garlique, or any other blood thinners before surgery. For headaches or pain Tylenol is safe to take. It is crucial to avoid any physical exertion for two weeks after surgery. Blowing your nose, sneezing, coughing, straining in the bathroom, lifting weights, bending over can increase the chances of bleeding. If you need medication for constipation, cough or allergies causing sneezing, please let me know.
• Bring dark sunglasses with you to the hospital or the office.
• Buy or loan some books on audio cassettes from the library to listen to after your surgery for the first night.
• You will need to arrange for an adult to provide a ride to take you home from after surgery and preferably spend the night with you after surgery.

AFTER SURGERY:

• Applying icepacks to the eyes for the first three days after your surgery is important. Use alcohol in a ziplock bag. It will not become solid in the freezer and will be easy to apply to the eyes. An alternative is to put frozen peas in a ziplock bag.
• Do not wear contacts for three days after surgery.
• Do not exercise or attempt to do house work. Do not bend over, push or lift any thing heavy.
• Sleep with your head elevated on two pillows or in a recliner.
• Do not strain your eyes by watching TV or reading a book for at least two days. You can listen to music.
• Clean the incisions with cotton tip applicator (Q-tips) and hydrogen peroxide, at least three times a day. Then apply Bacitracin ophthalmic ointment on the incisions. Do not let the incisions become dry.
• Put two drops of Tobradex eye drops in each eye twice a day for five days.
• Systane eye drops (over the counter) can be used to help with the itching.
• Do not wash your eyes for five days. Clean the rest of your face with a wash cloth.
• You will return to the office in three to five days for removal of the stitches.
• Do not drink alcohol for two weeks.
• For pain take Tylenol or the prescription pain medication given to you.
• DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN
• IF AT ANY TIME YOUR VISION CHANGES, THE EYE BECOMES SWOLLEN OR RED, OR YOU HAVE INCREASING PAIN, PLEASE CALL ME IMMEDIATELY.

YOUR NOTES AND QUESTIONS:

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Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Generally, flight attendant can return to work at least 2 weeks after eyelid surgery

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Dear Lady K

Let's face it, being a fight attendant is a demanding job. Ideally, you would allow yourself 2 to 3 weeks to recover before returning to work. Two weeks is really the minimum as far as I am concerned. Your own surgeon my have other ideas and in part, this will also depend on exactly what surgery you have.

One concern I would have in the very dry environment of the jet cabin is eye dryness. After surgery, the eyes will be more dry for about 6 weeks. The fact that you are working in an environment with very low humidity will further decrease your level of eye discomfort. This is not crippling and it is not a reason to go forward with eyelid surgery. However, you may need to be prepared to use artificial tears for an extended period after eyelid surgery.

For these reasons, I think that it is worth your while to consult an oculoplastic surgeon regarding eyelid surgery. You line in an area with a number of highly qualified oculoplastic surgeons. These are board certified ophthalmologists who are fellowship trained in eyelid plastic surgery. They will be able to assess your eyes and measure their relative dryness and factor this into consideration in planning your surgery. Go to the ASOPRS.org website to find surgeons in your area.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Pressure changes, straining, and dryness after eyelid surgery

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The changes in cabin pressure during a flight are usually minimal, however it is wise to delay this for a week or two. Any activity that could cause straining is better to be avoided in the early postoerative period. During long flights it is always advisable to use lubricating or artifical tear eye drops to avoid dryness and irritation, which may occur.

Hope that helps.

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Return to work after blepharoplasty eyelid surgery

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Lady K,

One should avoid all strenuous activity, especially heavy lifting or intensive training for a couple weeks after eyelid surgery. Patients may return for light office work earlier, but likely not possible as a flight attendant.

Any activity which elevates your blood pressure or heart rate may exacerbate and cause bruising, at worst even frank bleeding. Strenuous activities to avoid include, but are not limited to running, exercise, weight lifting, Pilate's, aerobics, cycling, climbing, and sex. Yoga should be avoided too. Patients should even avoid straining on the toilet! Your plastic surgeon will inform you when you can resume normal activity after blepharoplasty surgery.

Depending on the extent of your surgery, most patients may resume regular activities within a couple weeks.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Flying after blepharoplasty

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Dear Lady K

I recommend my patients wait at least 2 weeks before flying. By then you should be able to return to normal activity and wear make-up. Some patients may have some bruising but this should almost be completely resolved.

I also advise you to use a liquid tears to keep the eyes moist as there can be some dry eye effect even if it is only temporary and if you can keep it in the frig or on ice it really feels great when you place a few drops in each eye.

Good luck if you have surgery planned.

Steven Schuster, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.